International law encompasses many important subjects: the law governing the relationships between sovereign nations, laws affecting international business transactions, the coordination of international environmental actions, and international cooperation to protect human rights and to prosecute the commission of crimes against humanity, to name a few. Comparative law, the study of different legal systems in different countries, focuses on understanding important differences and similarities among legal systems. Iowa offers a variety of courses on topics in these areas of study. 

Faculty at Iowa law are internationally renowned for their work in international and comparative law, trade and commercial law, international environmental law, immigration law, international family law, international constitutional law, and international criminal and humanitarian law. 

In addition to academic courses, Iowa also offers a variety of opportunities for students to engage with international law at Iowa and abroad. Students have the opportunity to participate in the Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems Journal, International Law Society, International Law Students Association, and the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. In addition to these programs, Iowa also offers various study-abroad opportunities. While these opportunities were not running during the COVID period from 2020 to 2022, some of them are operational again. Iowa has restarted its own programs in the UK (winterim) and France (summer). Additionally, it has active exchange agreements with partner universities in South Korea, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and The Netherlands. Pre-COVID agreements with institutions in Austria and Kosovo will be considered for renewal if an Iowa student expresses interest. Pre-Covid agreements with institutions in China will be considered once US and university travel advisories are lifted as well as based on Iowa student interest. Students can also gain practical experience working in international legal settings through the Field Placement Program. Students who are interested in writing or competing on international topics or working in programs that involve international subjects are advised to study at least one of the courses in this area before doing so.  

Curriculum Guide

Foundational coursework in international law includes Foundations of International Law, a survey course that introduces students to the fundamentals of public and private international law, including the major doctrines of international law, the work of international tribunals, and the procedural aspects of international law. Another foundational course is Comparative Law, in which students undertake a comparative study of the development and features of different legal systems in different countries around the world. This course provides training in understanding law that is fundamentally different from U.S. law in important ways.  

Students at Iowa Law also have access to a catalogue of advanced coursework in international and comparative law, many of which combine aspects of both public international law and comparative law. Examples of available courses include International Business Transactions, Human Rights in the World Community, Immigration Law and Policy, Law in the Muslim World, and advanced topics courses in international law and comparative law that focus on specific subjects or countries.  

In addition to these courses, students at Iowa may enroll in study abroad programs led by Iowa Law faculty. The Summer Program in France (Paris & Arcachon) allows students to study topics such as Introduction to French Law, Law in the Muslim World, and Comparative Criminal Law while in France. Iowa Law’s extremely popular London Law Program—the largest study-abroad program offered by a U.S. law school—allows students to study the British Legal System, Comparative Corporate Governance, Comparative Constitutional Law or English Law and Literature through classes and field trips to London and Oxford. 

Courses & Programs

  • Comparative Law 
  • Foundations of International Law 

This list includes courses taught within the last several years at Iowa Law. Not all courses are offered regularly.

  • English Law and Literature
  • The Constitution and U.S. Foreign Relations 
  • Global Health Laws 
  • Human Rights in the World Community 
  • Foreign Comparative and International Legal Research 
  • Immigration Law and Policy 
  • International Business Transactions 
  • International Commercial Arbitration 
  • International Comparative Inequality Law 
  • International and Comparative Family Law 
  • International Environmental Law 
  • International Securities Regulation 
  • International Trade Law: Basic Norms and Regulations 
  • Introduction to French Law 
  • Law in the Muslim World 
  • Taxation of International Business Transactions 
  • Advanced Problems in International Environmental Law 
  • Advanced Problems in International Law and Policy 
  • Advanced Topics in International Law 
  • Family Law in the World Community 
  • Conflict of Laws 
  • International Criminal Law 
  • International Comparative Labor and Employment Law 
  • Seminar on Islamic Law and Government 

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